I made several fantastic and exciting discoveries at the Book Expo (BEA), none the least of which is pictured below. These are the books, out of the many galleys and copies I plucked or that were handed to me – all from winsomely-decorated booths filled with alluring colors and lively typefaces and enthusiastic people – that I’m quite fired up to read first. While I was wandering around somewhat haphazardly on Thursday, the only day I was able to attend, I was privileged to happen upon some publishing houses with scads of upcoming titles that I can’t wait to read, such as the New York Review of Books, Europa Editions, Other Press, ECW Press. Among many others. If we met at the convention, hello, and thank you for being kind enough to stop by.
Without further ado, the winnowed-out, best book finds:
1. The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick: Having acquired the Philip K. Dick library sometime in the recent past, in November Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is going to publish the exegesis of Philip K. Dick. I’ve read all of Dick’s novels, I think. If I missed one, shame on me. The delightful prospect of dissecting his lovely lunacy makes my mind water.
(I’m about to burst off on a tangent, so stand clear. When I read Confessions of a Crap Artist (in one go, which was a foolish idea for a book of that character) I could see every scene in that book like it was a picture in a magazine. I spent the following week stumbling around in a hazy, pleased, crazy stupor, half-living in Fay’s living room listening to her hi-fi, half-living in Jack’s ersatz collections and ideas, and half-living my own life the way you do when you walk out of a superhero movie and take stalkier, springier steps because you believe, for the next hour, that you are a superhero and you woolgather the whole car ride home about the fitness regimen on which you’re about to embark so you can look and feel and move like [Beautiful Hollywood Actor]. So indeed, I was living a 150% life for a week and more. Scenes from that novel still pop up when I’m doing dishes, walking in the park; that is a book and that is why I can’t wait to read this exegesis.)
2. In The Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson: I heard Mr. Larson talking about this book on NPR earlier this month and his name and the book’s title subsequently slipped my mind, so I was pleasantly surprised that the author breakfast I attended primarily to hear Roger Ebert’s talk also featured Erik Larson and a copy of In The Garden of Beasts. Mr. Larson discussed his love of libraries at some length and told a funny paraprosdokian-style joke; given the choice of a night in the Library of Congress or a night with Cate Blanchett, he’d take the night with Cate Blanchett in a heartbeat. Good to know, man, and me too, because I’d love to hear all about what it was like to touch Viggo Mortensen. What does he smell like? I bet leaves and paper and sex.
3. Blue Heaven by Willard Wyman: This is the follow-up to High Country, which I picked up recently but haven’t yet read. From what I’ve skimmed of both, they promise to be excellent books.
4. In the ice house by Genevieve Kaplan: Winner of AROHO‘s To the Lighthouse Publication Prize, this is sure to be something I either love or hate. The author is from the Bay Area and the poems are touted as examinations of domestic issues; she is said to “channel Wallace Stevens.” We’ll see about that.
6. Fatale by J.P. Manchette: Manchette wrote French thrillers, and out of 10, this is only the 3rd to have been published in English.
7. We The Animals by Justin Torres: Described as an examination of familial and brotherly love, and alienation, this is a first novel by an interesting author and another that I expect to either love or strongly dislike.
8. Civil and Civic by Jonathan Bennett: Poems about civility and privacy; I’ll just leave a picture of the cover right here:
9. Lamb by Bonnie Nadzam: From the description, “Lamb traces the self-discovery of David Lamb, a narcissistic middle-aged man with a tendency toward dishonesty, in the weeks following the disintegration of his marriage and the death of his father.” I was sold at “narcissistic middle-aged man.”
There’s no 10. You might say this post doesn’t go to 11. Hahahaha! Well, anyway, I’m pretty exhausted and sleep-deprived so before my license to make jokes that will cause you to hang your head with shameful contempt is revoked, here are some more pictures that my self-conscious phone took for me after it made me breakfast and walked me 12 blocks and 3 avenues to the convention. (Its name is Leland!)